Golden State Warriors: Omari Spellman is primed for a breakout season

Golden State Warriors (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Golden State Warriors forward Omari Spellman is in the perfect position to have a breakout season by becoming the Warriors’ sixth man.

Early in July, the Golden State Warriors acquired Omari Spellman from the Atlanta Hawks whilst sending Damian Jones and a second-round pick the other way. Spellman is in the perfect position to have a breakout season.

In his rookie year with the Atlanta Hawks last year, the 30th overall pick averaged 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. He showed an ability to hit catch-and-shoot jumpers consistently, firing at 34.4% from behind the arc last season, which is slightly below average.

Although it’s likely that number will go up and up in the coming years as he develops and becomes more confident. Even more encouraging is that Spellman shot 43.2% on corner threes, making him a genuine threat from out there.

His most alluring use would be as a stretch five in a small-ball lineup. He can, of course, lend floor spacing on the offensive end while on the defensive end, his length and strength make him a serviceable defender against big men down low and on the perimeter.

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Spellman obviously won’t be starting many games next season but he could be a key member of the Warriors second unit. The bench has taken a hit this offseason with the losses of Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Quinn Cook.

Players that could be competing with Spellman for minutes in the 2019-20 season are Draymond Green, Eric Paschall, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Kevon Looney. The Warriors are likely to use a lot of centers as they have been doing for the last few years.

As a result, Spellman would feature for sure at the five while also playing some time at the four spot. The advantage Spellman has over other bigs is that he can space the floor all the way out to the three as well as posting up on the block.

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He has been known to be a predictable player down low but his value in the low post is really against smaller defenders.

Because of his unique talents, Spellman could actually see more minutes in the playoffs than in the regular season, particularly against teams like the Houston Rockets who employ a ‘switch everything’ defense.

Spellman can run pick-and-roll with one of the superstar guards and then when the inevitable switch comes, he can take his smaller defender down to the block and punish him with a right jump hook or he can face up and shoot over his defender.

The Rockets are excellent at sending double teams for these mismatches and Spellman has shown that he can be a capable passer out of the post, finding the open man for a clean look at a three.

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If Spellman can get consistent minutes during the regular season and shows that he can be trusted on both ends of the floor then he can get big playoff minutes for the Warriors. The coaching staff should be looking at Spellman as a backup to Green to give him rest and even to play alongside him.

Spellman can excel alongside Green, providing shooting which is obviously an area that the latter is lacking in. Defensively they are both switchy, long, athletic bigs who will cause NBA offenses headaches if they try to mismatch hunt against a lineup with both of them.

Steve Kerr is sure to see good value in Spellman and he could probably expect to get 20 minutes per game during the regular season, and even up to 25 minutes against teams like the Rockets.

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In the best-case scenario, he could have a breakout season averaging around 15 points per game and establish himself as the Warriors sixth man amongst a weak bench that should allow his talents to be exploited to the maximum.